Precepts & Life Preservers

Faith & The Big D

An Extension of Him


When your dog teaches you about needing God's presence.

All the dog lovers in the house. I know you’ll understand this scenario.

We have a shadow living with us. Has been with us now for almost 13 years and is even more of a shadow than before.

No. Maybe shadow isn’t even the right word.

We have this four-legged… umm… growth.

Our border collie/black lab cross, Rally. It’s not enough for her to be in the same vicinity as you. It’s not enough to be in the same house.  On the same floor. In the same yard. The same room.

Nope, it’s not enough.

Her life’s purpose is to be so close that no matter what you’re doing, she’s touching you.

She waits. Patiently. To the untrained eye, it looks like she really couldn’t care what you’re about. But she’s simply watching out of one eye for the right moment. For the moment you settle and still in one spot. Then suddenly you have this furry growth.

Sometimes it’s rather funny, sometimes reassuring, or sweet, sometimes very awkward. You look down because she sighs, and snorts, and is finding a way to place her 75 lb body at the right angle so that even just one small part of her is touching yours.

Wrapped around your foot under the work desk. Laying on her side, her hip against your heel by the T.V. Her head wedged up against your ankle while her feet are tangled up in my husband’s while we read.

She becomes this extension of you. Quite on purpose.

And over the years, we’ve used it to our benefit too. She feeds off the contact. So when we’re an extension of calm, she remains calm. That border collie part of her goes bonkers at every moving thing out of a dead sleep… but if you’re at rest while touching her, she’s at rest. If you’re an extension of love, she murmurs back and heaves a happy sigh while one toe touches yours. If you’re on edge and alert, she won’t settle but her senses stay on guard.

She becomes an extension of us. Every time.

It occurred to me that this is the picture of another, better, extension.

I don’t know about you, but this scenario translates well into us with our Heavenly Father, doesn’t it?

The times I’m most at peace are when I’m pressing into His rest.

The moments I’m most content are when I bask in His wonderful faithfulness and grace.

The days I feel confident and like I belong, are the days I reach out and make sure I’m touching Him.

When our priority is to feel Him beside us, to be with Him no matter where He leads, to be in constant contact with our Savior, then His touch does for us, what my touch does for my crazy dog.

We stay connected to Him, and we then naturally become an extension of Him.

A complete extension of the Creator King. This thought blows my mind. Even better, that He has always had a history of inviting us to do so.

You see it in scripture. All the ways simply touching Him was enough. Click To Tweet

You see it in scripture. All the ways simply touching Him was enough.

The woman with a decades-long illness presses in and healing and dignity flow.

Peter sinking into the water one night, and an instant later Jesus walking across and taking His hand changes everything.

Mary holds His feet and connects with her tears, her hands, her hair, and a paradigm-like shift takes place. One touch and her life is acknowledged by the only One who mattered.

He touched eyes to see. He touched sickness to heal. He touched the dead and life was extended.

A young disciple reclines into his Lord with such comfort and familiarity that it’s worth recording into The Book for all time.

That’s us today. He should be so familiar, so loved, so attractive, so important, so wanted, so revered, that all we should want is to be constantly within reach of Him.

To be away from His presence is to be at the mercy of ourselves. Click To Tweet

To be away from His presence is to be at the mercy of ourselves.

I’ve never done well left to my own devices.

I want to be so tucked into His precious side, so hidden into His mighty wings, that I become an extension of everything He is and does and gives.

I want this kind of desire to be resolute. Like breathing. This prayer to be my compass, my destination, my purpose. And nothing more. For if that is where we live and move and grow, pressed into Him, then everything that follows is exactly what and where He plans and provides.

And His Word proclaims and testifies that He is faithful to provide and supply your every need.

Let’s make our goal today to be an extension of Him, and watch what He will do!

Hey! Can I extend a another kind of invitation?

We’re looking for inspirational bloggers around the world and social media to join us in the exciting launch of author/blogger/speaker Sherry Stahl’s newest book!
We need help getting the word out about the release of
Soul H2O: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women
coming in October, only a couple weeks away.
If you think you’d be interested in joining our #SoulH2O Launch Team, please follow the link here and scroll down to the signup button. It’ll take you to more info and even send you a complete PDF of the book for early review, and so much more!
Will you join us?

Join the SoulH2O launch team and be refreshed!


Joining bloggers today at these fabulous linkups! Be encouraged!
The #GraceAndTruth linkup with Arabah Joy
The #FaithNFriends linkup with Deb Wolf
And the #DanceWithJesus linkup with Susan B. Mead!

Have a great day! Blessings!

Incense Rising: A Book With Perfect Timing and a Giveaway

Incense Rising by Carolyn Dale Newell

God’s perfect timing never ceases to amaze me.

A couple of month’s ago I was in a season of rest. But what should have been restorative came with a side of so many of my mood disorder’s symptoms from my chronic D that the season of rest felt more like being in time out at the principal’s office.

There I was being obedient to the Spirit’s nudging to rest and just ‘be’ for however long He said to. And then the enemy decided to try infusing  that same season with insomnia, foggy-brain, phantom pain, and physically feeling like everything happened in slow motion to the point of real frustration and despair.

At the beginning I tried. I really tried to cast it off. Staying in the Word, doing everything I’ve learned about self-care, my family giving me space to wait it out. And I would lift up a prayer in the hardest moments, wobbly words to my Father, and doesn’t the enemy love to whisper doubt while we try to whisper out a little hope. And I could feel my prayers withering, and wandering, and sounding less victorious and more uncertain every time.

But God’s timing, people.

The same day I wrestled with the whole point of prayer and struggling how to focus through all the stuff, was the day I found out about a new book by my beautiful friend and fellow writer/blogger Carolyn Dale Newell called Incense Rising: 60 Days To Powerful Prayer.

Incense Rising by Carolyn Dale Newell

I remember giving my head a shake as I saw the topic of her book about to be released. Hey weary prayer warrior? God does not mess around. And He knows what we need before we even know we’ll need it. Amen?

He knows what we need before we even know we'll need it. Amen? Click To Tweet

First of all, let’s start with my two month season of rest about to happen. For all the math gurus, that’d be 60, say it with me, “sixty” days. I know! Can I tell you how many times I would say the title out-loud over the course of the summer and blink and shake my head and thank Him for His timing? 60 days, ya’ll, to powerful prayer.

I smile as I type now, make no mistake. Nothing gets past Him.

But even better, are Carolyn’s words wrapped around each truth about our Heavenly Father and how He responds to our cries to Him. Over 60 individual heart-thoughts on what prayerful words can do, what He says to us about our needs, and how to keep eyes on Him. (A constant theme for me personally right now by the way, but that’s another post for another day, yes?)

It felt like having someone cheer you on, each individual reading was a boost to motivate and keep it real but simple. My dysthymic brain could navigate the comforting words easily.

And I found myself latching onto truths once again that put my prayers back in perspective.

His timing in general with this book is not to be scoffed at. More than ever we need to rally one another to prayer. Hungry prayer. Desperate prayer. Confident prayer. Unending prayer. Beautiful incense to a beautifully mighty God, friends.

When we feel like we’re out of options, we always have the choice to pray and lift all the words from our hearts like incense up to Him who sits on the throne!

What an important “gift” prayer is, as she states in the very first line of the book. In fact I loved Carolyn’s challenge to the reader at the very beginning that hopes… “You will grasp the balance between praying for God’s will and praying with complete faith.”

And there on one of my low days, suddenly there was the tug of the Spirit as I read this beautiful thought and felt like the words were being whispered by the Father himself, “Quite likely you are overwhelmed today. Take the time to step into the strong tower of safety. Kneel under your Father’s wings. Feel His peaceful calm as He provides you with security, and rest in His promises today.” – Carolyn Dale Newell

That one is written down and tucked into my Bible at Psalm 61: 1-5.

Filled with truths, scripture, actions to take, and prayers to pray, this book is fully encouraging in every way.

It’s at the top of my highly-recommend-list, friends. Seriously good.

And if you’re interested in knowing more about Carolyn and her books, be sure to click here!

Giveaway For Incense Rising

Cue the marching band!

I want to give away a copy of Incense Rising, 60 Days To Powerful Prayer to one of my readers. It’s a definite must-share and my intense privilege to bless someone with this book!

Tomorrow morning at 8 am we’ll randomly select a name and announce the winner of a freshly printed copy of the book here on the blog and over on the Precepts &Life Preservers FB page, and a couple little treats from moi in the mix! Sound good?

Just leave a comment below and tell us: How has prayer been like a gift to you in your life? Give us your answer and you could be selected! Check back here for the winner!


Joining up with Suzanne Eller’s #livefreeThursday linkup today!
Hit the hashtag and join us?

What I Learned This August

If one thing stood out about the summer of 2016, it was that I chose to use it as the Summer of Rest.

And then the summer hit us with a tidal wave of heat and humidity here in Ontario that put everyone’s patience to the test, and left me saying to no one in particular, “I said I needed to rest, not hibernate.” Sigh. I didn’t want to complain but skip grilling, you could cook your whole dinner on the sidewalk in under 30 seconds.

Anyway, I rested and hibernated away from the heat and took time to find my way back home, as it were. I dug into books and studies that I’d put off reading until I had more time. I joined two book launches that gave me an extra boost of community with other writers and bloggers. And I spent time daydreaming about small changes in my routine and my home that I’d been avoiding until I had better focus.

People, it took the whole two months.

But I feel better, rested, and eager to see what He’s been resting me for.

And that starts my list of things I learned this summer:

    1. I learned that sometimes we shouldn’t put off the feeling of needing rest because it might be His prompting according to His timing. With my chronic depression disorder, I must have pockets of downtime between major events or responsibilities. It ensures I get to take on things of magnitude when needed without falling into an episode triggered by being overwhelmed. And I’ll rest when I feel prompted by the Spirit because sometimes He has something in store for me and doesn’t want me to miss it and what He’s doing. I’m seeing this unfold before me right now in fact, and because I was obedient to resting, I’m ready for this new thing I didn’t know was initially coming.
      Rest is often His equipping and preparing before a new big thing.
      Having said that, sometimes something arises that you can’t plan for and then I have to completely trust His strength over mine. And He has never failed me.
      Rest is often His equipping and preparing before a new big thing. Click To Tweet

    2. I learned that I love catching short inspirational videos for those times when I can’t get to church but need that “gotta have some church up in here-vibe!” For a hit of inspiration, for a soul-boost, for some freshness, sometimes hearing a sister or brother boil it all down to an undeniable bit of preaching makes me raise my hands and recollect myself in the middle of the day’s chaos.
      Here’s one from the amazing Priscilla Shirer that recently felt refreshing and made me say “That’ll preach!”

    3.  I learned this summer that just because you follow all advice to a T on how to care for the random grapevine that on the surface seems to be thriving for the second summer in a row in our yard, doesn’t mean you’ll see any grapes.
      At all.
      Except in the fruit aisle of the grocery store.The surprise grapevine...
      It is flourishing. A lovely green. Trimmed properly. Climbing our deck railings with great vigor.
      And completely useless otherwise.
      I’m also learning patience and hope in regards to next year.
      And optimism. Lots of optimism. Lots.

    4. Finally, I learned that your husband really will enjoy himself at an Andre Rieu concert if it’s big and larger than life at full sound for impact. I had tickets to Andre’s live streamed concert (from his historic hometown of Maastricht in the Netherlands) at our local movie theatre. I love his orchestra, their classical sound, and saw their concert this way last year. Perry aka Wilson kind of shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes a little when he found out I needed a seat-mate last-minute, but was game for this rather one-sided date night. And then the big screen lit up, there was audience participation from the streaming movie theatres around the world, and I heard him laugh, sniff back tears twice ya’ll, and he joined the applause at the end, rather heartily.
      So, now he gets why I say I can’t watch baseball on t.v with any kind of enthusiasm but put me in the actual seats and I’m all in.
      Guess he learned something this summer too. Ha.

      So, those are some of the things I learned this season. Care to share some of the things you’ve learned over the course of the summer?


Linking up this post with others at the following linkups this week:

#RaRaLinkup with Kelly Balarie and Angela Parlin
#TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee at 5pm EST
#CoffeeForYourHeart with Holley Gerth
#livefreeThursday with Suzie Eller

When Our Faith Needs To Go From Unsettled To Soaring…

Why 1 John 5:14 is important for the chaos of our lives...

We get news of a loved one dealing with uncharted illness.

And we struggle with the why’s and how’s.

We learn something unsettling about our kids.

And we hit our knees in a panic.

We hear rumours at work about layoffs and downsizing.

And a thousand thoughts and fears take over our brains.

Our hearts pound.

Our focus falters.

Our faith takes a beating.

How do we keep going?

Continue reading

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